TRADERS at Farnworth Market have spent a bleak Christmas away from their old stalls following the demolition of the canopy next to King Street.
Trading has continued during the redevelopment and businesses have been moved to the other two canopies.
Traders will eventually be moved to a new site in Farnworth with so-called “demountable stalls” — temporary stalls which can be put up and down, rather than the current fixed stalls.
Tracey Myatt, aged 49, who has run an outdoor cafe in the market and has worked there for 18 years, does not feel the current set up benefits traders.
She said: “The mood in the camp is not good. Everybody’s a bit fed up and downhearted, because we don’t know what the new year will bring.
“Trade has dropped, and people have been coming up to me saying they thought the cafe was gone.
“I don’t think I’ll have a business towards the end of next year.
“I can’t work off a demountable stall.”
Another trader fearing for his future was Tom Nuttall, aged 54, of Nuttall’s Jewellery, who has worked in the market for 33 years.
He said: “Traders have been leaving the market in their droves and the market looks bare to the bone now.
“It is terrible, not just because the canopy’s been knocked down, but because everybody thinks the market’s closed. I think the only option for people in Farnworth Market is to leave and find somewhere else to work.”
However, Farnworth cou-ncillor Noel Spencer reassured disgruntled traders that the future was bright, outlining the economic benefits of the redevelopment.
Cllr Spencer has met with members of the council’s Development and Regene-ration Department, who have been in regular consultations with traders.
He said: “As far as I’m aware, consultations with traders have been going relatively well.
“This multi-million pound development will create more jobs and is something that, in this economic climate, is absolutely brilliant for the local population.
“I would advise any traders feeling discontented to continue negotiating to ensure they can carry on trading.”
Cllr Spencer added that another meeting with the Development and Regen-eration Department will take place later this month and that work to develop the new retail area was on schedule.
Once completed, the new retail area will include a health centre.